Decorum Issue 7. Words by Jonathan Hickman. Art by Tom Huddleston. Letters by Rus Wooton. Designs by Sasha E Head.
Last issue, like the first meeting of peanut butter and chocolate, the two seemingly disparate elements of this story clashed into an unholy and unexpectedly delicious whole. The creepy egg-seeking box robots of the Church of the Singularity hired The Sisterhood of Man to track down and retrieve the mysterious egg, which has proven such a thorn in their side. However, all was not well in the world of Decorum, as it turns out that teamwork DOESN'T make the dream work; fledgling assassin Neha Nori Sood is dumped by her mentor, and my future wife, the dangerously hot, and also just dangerous, Imogen Smith-Morley, must take on this Most Important of Missions totally solo.
This issue finds the many and varied assassins of the Sisterhood of Man spread far and wide, searching for their golden egg. And it seems that the Sisterhood have ways and means that the Church never could have dreamed of. And they just might have, shall we say, cracked the case?
But when a stroke of bad luck takes things in an interesting direction for Neha, the path to the end of this grand tale becomes all too clear...
There's not a huge amount to say about Decorum issue 7, so I'll keep this brief.
The issue is strong, of course, but there are two main flaws, that I can see.
First off, a minor gripe which could become far worse. Decorum issue 7 reads very much like you'd expect a penultimate issue to read; while there's a lot going on, it's almost entirely set up and ground work, paving the way for the conflict and eventual resolution that is to come in the finale. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, of course. But it IS a risk. If issue 8 comes out next month and is a timeless classic, then all is forgiven and forgotten. But, if the conclusion of this mind bending tale DOESN'T live up to expectations, then the build-up feels all the worse, for lack of adequate pay-off. This leads me quite nicely into my second flaw.
They say the greatest crime in writing is to do exactly what's expected of you. And that's exactly what Hickman did, this issue. The greatest part, for me anyway, of this series so far has been its ability to confuse and delight me. Every page is a giant question mark, and when we do get answers, they're more often than not just set-ups for even bigger questions. And then issue 7 happened. And everything played out almost exactly how I was expecting it to. I kept on reading, expecting a final sting, to set up a shocking finale, but it never arrived.
However, If the past is anything to go by, while giving us what we expect may be the greatest crime, underestimating the writing of Jonathan Hickman is certainly a top three offense. While this issue felt a little predictable, his body of work up to this point, and the quality he's shown throughout this series so far, are MORE than high enough that I have confidence Hickman can bring this series to a satisfying end. There are still enough unanswered questions and brain-melting allusions in the lore of Decorum, that I'm sure the final issue of this wonderful series will bring back all the confusion and wonder that have been the hallmark of this series to date.
So, if you want to see how Hickman sets up the end of this wonderful series, you can read Decorum Issue 7 on March 31st, from all good comic stockists. Is "stockist" a word? It doesn't look like one.